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Month: June 2016

That’s my secret, I’m always angry…

 

Angry.

Really, properly, angry.

A white-hot, incandescent, rage-fuelled, burning, seething, roiling, pure, barely restrained anger.

That’s how I’ve felt since the result of the EU Referendum was announced in the early hours of Friday morning, when the UK had, incomprehensibly, voted by a slim margin to leave the EU.

My last post about this before the referendum was largely an on the fence one, but as you have probably guessed I went with my head rather than my heart, and made the sensible, logical choice to remain a member of the EU.

It seems however, that slightly too many people within the UK, particularly in Little England, actually fell for the jingoistic, xenophobic, misplaced patriotism espoused by the Leave campaign in the run up to the vote. Now of course begins Project Backpeddle, as the likes of Boris Johnson, Michael Gove, Liam Fox and Daniel Hannan start telling us that in reality:

Brexit: Thoughts from someone on the fence…

Not exactly our typical sort of programming, but then again there’s a reason why I renamed from Sargaming.net to SarCrux.com 😉


So the EU Referendum in the UK is merely days away, and as someone who is pretty firmly-ish on the fence I’ve been doing my best over the past few weeks to make my mind up on the issue.

I am leaning towards a Remain vote at this moment in time, but I do have some serious misgivings both ways.

I had a good discussion with @BenTinyShaw on Twitter today about the pros and cons. He’s pro-leave, but not given to the usual histrionics and nay-saying that seems to mar both sides of the campaign lately.

The leave campaign largely seems to be strongly flavoured by racist and xenophobic lot, a la the BNP, UKIP, EDL, Britain First, Rupert Murdoch’s plethora of rags such as The Sun, and in Northern Ireland politics the DUP. All of the above I abhor with a zealous fervour. That’s why it was good to have that discussion today on Twitter with Ben, because there was none of that. Respect.

Admittedly the Remain camp’s campaign has been nothing short of farcical, with ever-increasingly silly claims about what would happen if we left the EU: “Brexit will drive down wages!” “Brexit will drive up prices!” “Brexit will cause massive job losses and unemployment!”

I await someone seriously claiming Brexit would give us all cancer, blot out the sun or eat our babies!


Staying

The Arguments For

So my main concern about leaving the EU is this. The SNP in Scotland at the last election absolutely decimated Labour’s voter base. As a result Labour’s share of the overall vote dropped to a point where it may potentially never recover enough for them to win another election. Certainly for this generation at the very least.

That means that the UK will for a good long while at the very least, be for all intents a One Party State, and that One Party is the Conservatives. This is the same Tory party that loves Zero-hours contracts, wants to repeal the Human Rights Act, had to be forced to bring in legislation on maximum working hours, maternity pay, paid annual leave and other various workers’ rights.

If we were to leave the EU, the Tories would have unfettered ability to repeal all of the above legislation, all of which was ushered in by the EU and has improved the lives of working people right across the UK no end. In other words we’d all be back to doffing our flat caps to our Guv’nors again and offering to polish their shoes.

Fuck that.

If we’re going to be a Tory-run country for a length of time, I’d hate for them to run the UK without governance from the EU.

It’s this that is my biggest concern, and the main reason I’m leaning towards a Remain vote.

Also consider the fact that Austerity+ would potentially be the de facto economic status for the UK should the Tories remain in power for the foreseeable future, especially outside of any fiscal oversight from the EU. Not something the EU would have a direct say in, but I’d hate to think how hard the Tories would turn the screw should they be allowed…

And Against

At the moment with people free to move about the EU at will and work wherever they like, more people move into the UK to work than leave. This increase in net population levels surely has to place increasing strain on our public services, particularly the NHS and benefits systems? The NHS is already at breaking point, thanks to the Tories (again) doing their best to drive it into the ground in an effort to privatise it and have the UK running with a medical system akin to that in the US. And we all know how broken the financing of the medical system is in the US, being as it is an arms race between the insurance companies and the medical industry in ever-burgeoning costs.

$24,000 for an X-Ray? Pull the other one GOP, it’s $6,000 cheaper.


Leaving

The Argument For

If we did leave, concerns above aside, we would have full control of our borders & immigration policies.

We’d also have full electoral accountability, given that the leadership of the EU itself is unelected and unaccountable for its decisions. We also wouldn’t be subject to some of the dafter laws, such as no straight bananas. A law which is responsible for so much food wastage across the continent that if donated, would probably end the famine situation in Africa.

And again, against

If we did leave, export tariffs into the EU would come into effect, a zone which accounts for 44% of our exports.


Our single biggest trading partner is actually the US, taking about double that of our second largest export market, Germany. And, despite this, given how much we export to the EU I’m skeptical about how hard they’d hit the UK with import/export tariffs if we did leave.

But I really fear for the future of workers’ rights, the NHS and general wages if we left the EU.


So, like you’ve seen, there are plenty of arguments on both sides. But for me, it’s basically like trying to decide between which bucket full of shit you’ll be prepared to eat if forced. Lumpy or runny?

The process of me sitting writing this hasn’t really helped me all that much, but I hope it’s helped you if you’re still fence-sitting!

PTR Hunter Preview: The Beast Master

So the PTR now features the Legion pre-expansion patch, which brings with it all the new systems and class changes ahead of the expansion’s launch itself.

So given how badly I’ve wanted to get onto the Legion Beta, I was very eager to get on the PTR and test out the changes to Hunters, especially given that this expansion sees Hunters receiving more wholesale changes than any other class has ever received in the game.

So for this first post I’m going to take a look at my old favourite, the BM Hunter.

OverWatch: Why your fave hero may not be your best hero!

So given the new website theme, you can probably guess that I’m still playing a lot of Blizzard’s new FPS.

With 21 Heroes it’ll obviously take a while to get to grips with them all, and give them all a fair shake.

So far, there’s only a couple of characters I haven’t really found a love for: Zarya, Winston, Symmetra and until last night D.Va, who I hadn’t really played much of at all (less than 2 mins).

So last night, having previously gotten the Carbon Fiber skin in my loot box bonanza, I decided to give her a go and see what she was like.

In short, turns out I’m pretty damned handy with her!

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Easily the largest number of eliminations with any character in a single game (to the tune of at least double), and what’s more she is absolutely lethal outside of her Mech! A true glass-cannon as a workmate said to me this morning.

I was able to take down Winstons at full health who had Symmetra’s shields on them, despite only having 150-ish hit points. Her pistol does massive damage, and I actually got the POTG in the header while outside of her mech.

So the moral of this short OverWatch tale?

Always be willing to try out those heroes you’ve not touched yet, and never assume you’re a better X player than you potentially could be at Y.

New Website Theme

So I made a change to the theme for the website, and this one’s a hell of a lot better for those of you reading on a mobile browser.

However, the site itself should work fine and dandy, and look a bit better even on a desktop browser.

There’s still a few wee niggles to sort out:

  • I want randomised headers, but the theme doesn’t support them natively, requiring a cludged code fix (TBA).
  • There are some minor CSS issues with posts on the front page vs single post pages (next few days).
  • I want to create some more headers, but need time to do that (within the next week).

So that will all be sorted over the next few days, but hopefully you’ll find it a bit of a better reading experience, regardless of which type of device you’re reading this on!

Buying Loot Boxes in OverWatch?

Or, what are the odds, eh?


So last night I bought a stack of loot boxes in OverWatch. I bought the pack of 24 for £15.99, so hardly breaking the bank.

So for those of you wondering what the odds are of you getting one of the sweeter skins in the game, IE the Legendary ones?

Well, I got 2 legendary drops. One was a skin:

ScreenShot_16-06-12_02-26-53-000

 

And the other was a massive dose of currency. In all I got 1335 currency, both directly from currency drops, and from the small amounts you get when you get an item you’ve already got.

 

And as you get more stuff, the chances of you getting a duplicate are obviously a lot higher than they would’ve been otherwise, so sadly as you get more unlocks the loot boxes themselves become lesser in value, as you’ll likely only get small amounts of “commiseration currency” instead of anything you really want.

 

So I had bought Reinhardt’s White & Gold skin with the currency I’d had yesterday morning:

ScreenShot_16-06-12_12-51-00-000

 

But after getting the needed currency last night I splurged on his Stonehardt skin:

ScreenShot_16-06-12_03-06-42-000

 

As well as Widow’s Patina/gold skin:

ScreenShot_16-06-12_03-06-48-000

 

Reinhardt is a character I play a decent amount of, mainly only when I need to, as going by my stats I play more Widowmaker, Hanzo and Mei than anything else…

played

 

So more Reinhardt needed then 😉

 

So why did I buy a legendary skin for a character who is #8 on my most played list?

 

Simply because it’s an awesome skin, and I can see myself playing more of the ageing German tank as time goes by.

 

The other option was the Comtesse or Huntress skin for Widow:

ScreenShot_16-06-12_12-47-32-000

ScreenShot_16-06-12_12-48-34-000

 

So they’ll be next on the list…

 

I got quite a few epic drops, such as Junkrat’s prisoner skin, the Carbon Fiber skin for D.Va, the Superior highlight intro for Hanzo, so all stuff I would use anyway.

 

Common drops were player icons, tonnes of sprays, and a few 75 value skins, such as Symmetra’s Technomancer skin.

 

I’ll probably buy some more boxes next month after I get paid again, but atm I’m quite happy with what I got.

 

But again, per above, the longer you go, and the more boxes you get, either purchased or earnt, the less value future boxes intrinsically have.

 

I’m well aware of the gambling-based psychology behind why Blizzard have done loot boxes like this, in that they give you a chance at the items you want rather than running through the list of everything you haven’t got without duplication.

 

It’s much the same psychology behind their loot drops in WoW, the “one more go” feeling that keeps you playing probably longer than you would’ve done otherwise, just in case…

 

So yeah, lots and lots of sprays, lots of dupes, decent amount of currency, some epics and a couple of legendary drops.

 

For £15.99, to support the game further, and the knowledge that new maps and heroes will always be free?

 

I’m happy.